“The Fama of Menino Jesus of Colvá. Faith and Festivity across History”, a book by José Venâncio Machado, was launched at a function at the District Library in Navelim, Goa, on 12 October 2013.

DSCN2100The book was launched at the hands of Justice Eurico Santana Da Silva, Former Judge of High Court of Bombay, and was presented by Rev. Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas, Goan historian and the author. Respectively, they represented the Court of Justice, the Catholic Church and the Community of Colvá, Goa – the three main players in the history of the two statuettes of Menino Jesus of Colvá, venerated each year during the Fama.

DSCN2115In his address, Justice Eurico Santana da Silva commended the research conducted by the author and remarked that an important event in the history of Colvá was documented through this effort. Similarly, Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas underlined the importance of the awareness of histories such as these and congratulated the author for his valuable research, inspite of not being a historian by profession or having had prior experience of research of this quality.

The author, José Venâncio Machado, later presented a history of the Menino Jesus statuettes, depicting with the help of archival material how the original statuette, now in Rachol, reached there and how a replica of the image has since been venerated in Colvá.

Dr Teotónio R. de Souza, former Director of the Xavier Centre for Historical Research, Porvorim, has written the Foreword for this book.

The audio recording of the proceedings during the launch can be heard here:

– Percy Parry

‘Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.’-Dennis Gabor

Sadly, today poets face a lot of problems while publishing their book. While other kinds of books (i.e. fiction and non fiction books and novels) have blossomed, poetry has remained right where it had been. Poetry has never seen the type of success that fiction or non fiction books have, but it has still stood strong with a devoted number of fans who love to spend their time listening to a poet recite his poem, and maybe even join classes on how to write good poetry.

Just as other writers and novelists have shifted from publishing to self-publishing, poets have tried hard to do the same. Traditional publishers are sometimes reluctant to publish poems. There may be a decent number of people out there who love poetry, but they are scattered and reaching them is difficult, thus lowering the overall success rate of a book of poems. Hence their reluctance.

Image Credit: Gracie Cannell (Flickr)

Image Credit: Gracie Cannell (Flickr)

Poet Susie DeFord self-published her eBook of poetry, Dogs of Brooklyn, after years of trying to get it published through a traditional publisher. In an interview to Galleycat she says, “I paid to submit to first book contests for almost two years, so I lost money and time trying to do it the old-fashioned way. I suppose that time spent revising/ editing/ swearing/ and feeling rejected made for a better book and some character building, but there are so many cool easy ways to self-publish and get your work out there from blogs to books. I think poets and writers in general should try to make their book the best book possible and not rush into publishing.”

Some self-published writers have seen quite a bit of success, which all the more prompts poets to tag along with the idea of self publishing. Poets are creative individuals who can come up with unusual and exciting ways to publish their poems for their fans and others. Thus they are among the first to adapt to new technologies that can help them showcase their poetry. eBooks thus come into the picture. But even though eBooks are a cheap and effective way to get published, somehow they haven’t gone down well with many poets.

You see, the switch to eBooks is not entirely smooth. eBooks don’t get along with poetry, as well as they do with prose. A critical difference being that prose is like water, which when poured into a vessel takes its shape, in this case that of the eBook. Poetry is one of the most precise and precious of literary forms, thus one of the defining characteristics of poetry are the line breaks. So poetry has a well defined structure, which can easily break if not fitted properly into the vessel (eBook), making it the least adaptable to the growing eBook market. As simple as this problem sounds, it is very difficult to solve it because the same eBook has to work on many different screens and devices on which readers can change the font and size of the text. It is impossible to guarantee that the line will display as the poet had intended. A displaced word, even a comma, can alter a poem’s meaning as surely as skipping a note can change a song.

Of course, traditional poetry publishers have had the same problem with printing the poems on books. Sometimes the poetry’s lines are wider than a book’s trim size, but there’s a way to solve this: when a poetic line continues over the edge of a printed page, it’s indented on the next line. But it has been surprisingly difficult to successfully recreate this indenting in an eBook, to make sure poems keep the integrity of their structure when they appear on screen.

Collins, a former U.S. poet laureate says, “I found that even in a very small font that if the original line is beyond a certain length, they will take the extra word and have it flush left on the screen, so that instead of a three-line stanza you actually have a four-line stanza. And that screws everything up.” When he adjusted the size to large print, his work was changed beyond recognition, a single line turning into three, “which is quite distressing,” he adds.

“I have mixed feelings about poetry and eBooks,” says award-winning poet Edward Hirsch. “I don’t think it’s the best way to read poetry myself and I wouldn’t want to read it on the eBook, but it also seems important to have poetry available wherever possible.”

Because of these added formatting issues of poetry, a lot of poets have had issues when converting their verse to eBooks and with E- readers. Because spacing and breaks are so important, and the viewing and formatting options of eBooks can easily be altered, poets are having a hard time getting their formatting right.

Ira Silverberg, director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, told the Washington Post, “Right now, we’re talking about conversion of print files to digital files and the greatest issue is in the poetry community. If you’re working on a Kindle or Nook or Kobo device, and you shoot up a page, you lose the line breaks depending on how you’ve formatted your preferences.”

Poets are working on different ways to get over this major problem. Judging by the level of creativity they have, I’m guessing they’ll come up with a solution to tackle this major milestone.

Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.

Commander Deepak K L Shergill, psc. , author of The Beast of the Dragon (CinnamonTeal, 2012) took voluntary retirement from the Indian Navy on 1st September 1999 after over 23 years of service. He now sails as a Master Mariner on AHTSVs and has extensive experience and insight in the working of offshore oil fields. He is an alumnus of St Joseph’s Academy Dehra Dun, Naval Academy and the Defense Services Staff College Wellington. We spoke to him about his first books and his experiences as an author.

CinnamonTeal: Do you recall how your interest in writing developed ?

Deepak Shergill: As I was growing up my first love was reading. I grew up reading Enid Blyton, Capt W E Johns and as I moved to college I lapped up English classics and contemporary writers from Ian Flemming , Fredrerick Forsyth, Fredrick H Christian to Camus. This vast spectrum of literature tickled me to write. It was only during 1978 to 1980 that I wrote a few short stories. I don’t know if they were good or bad but I sent them to Shobha De through a friend who worked with her in 1982. Well, I never got any feedback, probably Shobha De just trashed them. I never wrote anything after that, only dreamed of doing so.

CT: How did the idea for this book come about?

DS: Firstly every one in India is an authority on terrorism and secondly most Indians, even the minister who handles petroleum, have a vague idea about offshore oil fields. This always played on my mind. On 27 July 2005 there was a very unfortunate accident on Bombay High. Eleven people lost their lives and eleven others were reported missing. I was at the Mumbai Port that day having left Bombay High the previous evening, so I followed most of the news about the rescue operation on the DD news channel. The news bulletin gave full credit to the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy who came to the spot much later to pick up a few survivors after all the difficult work was done by Offshore Supply Vessels ( OSV) who were on the spot, working in very rough monsoon seas. Passing mention was given to the Masters of the OSVs that did all the difficult work. The CG and IN did all of that to justify them to the taxpayer. To add to the injustice, a very educated minister spoke at a press conference on TV and assured that ‘Rigs’ were being positioned around the affected platform for rescue operations. He did not know the difference between an Oil Rig and a Supply Vessel. I thus formed the story for a terror plot in an oil field hoping that through the story I could bring alive the difficulties of an offshore vessel operator’s life in an offshore oil field and the dedication with which the men and women work on these vessels. I started writing this story in 2007 and completed it in 2010 and revised the plot a bit after Osama bin Laden’s killing. In my story I portrayed a vessel dangerously encroaching on the offshore oil field. How true were my words. On 31 July 2011 MV Pavit a vessel abandoned near the Oman coast beached on the Juhu Versova beach. It had drifted past Bombay High without being detected or noticed by any one except the fishermen near the coast.

CT: Any part of the book you particularly enjoyed writing? Something you’d treasure down memory lane?

DS: The part where a team boards the rogue vessel to avert a catastrophe. I wanted to accurately portray the dedication of the people who work on offshore vessels. Everyday, in oil fields all over the world many put their vessels and their own lives at risk without hesitation so that the rigs and platforms can extract oil to move the world.

CT: Often it is said that the characters in a book assume a life of their own. Did you experience that too or did your characters stay true to what you had planned for them?

DS: Except for the two high profile terrorist all my characters came and went like chain links that bound the story. These links played their part as I had planned. As I moved through the story I could not help but humanise the two terrorists. They sort of ‘compelled’ me to portray them so.

CT: How long did id take to finish the book? What was the writing experience like?

DS: Like I said I started writing the book in 2007 and finished it in 2010 with very little changes. The only changes I made were in July 2011 after Osama bin Ladens killing.

CT: Briefly describe to us how you went about conducting the research for the book?

DS: The difficult part was writing about places in Pakistan and for that I depended a lot on the Google Map. The internet helped me to understand some parts associated with history. All other parts about the offshore oil field and vessels are part of my experiences. This is a profession that I love so much.

CT: In many places the book seems autobiographical. Is that an accurate statement to make?

DS: Yes the part about my personal experience in Sri Lanka in Ops Pawan while commanding a Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) and of course my present life in the offshore oil field.

CT: Do you have any future writing plans?

DS: Yes I have already worked out the frame work for the next book that will be about the betrayal of the nation of Israel by the British Government. And yes this one will have a main protagonist, something which was missing in the ‘The Beast of the Dragon’.

CT: How was it working with CinnamonTeal Publishing?

DS: Wonderful. The professional team at CinnamonTeal Publishing cleaned and ironed my book and packaged it to make me proud of my work. For my part I am truly proud of them.

In April 2011, CinnamonTeal published Shruti Swaminathan, who was then and still is the youngest author we have published. Impressed by her command over the English language at such a young age, we asked her to tell us what inspires her to write. Here is her story.

I began writing at the age of six. It all started off like this.

When I had begun to read, at the age of four, I used to read small storybooks. When I could not pronounce a word in that book, I would completely lose interest in the book and keep it away. My mother saw this and then started rewriting all the fairy tales and Jataka Tales in simple language on the laptop with matching images on every page. I used to read them at first with my mother and then by myself. That’s how, today, I can read very well.

Soon, I started helping her in looking for suitable pictures for more fairy tales, on the Internet. I would also suggest sentences for the stories. I used to enjoy that a lot.

I shifted to Chennai from Mumbai when I was six years old. I started living in Madhuban Apartments. In the same apartments lived another boy – seven months older than myself. We made friends with each other and started making up plays. We enjoyed acting out our own plays and actually, it was quite a lot of fun. These plays were written down in a thick-bound diary by me in the form of prose and not drama.

My parents discovered my talent and encouraged me to type out my stories on the laptop. Since then, I have been writing many, many stories.

I’ve got a collection of hundred and more – but, there are some which have no ending, some which I have not even begun yet!! I am at the laptop for an hour everyday – even during exam-time!! I manage to type something everyday except if I have ‘writer’s block’.

I love to read and re-read books. My book-reading habit started off with Enid Blyton, went on to Charles Dickens, Ruskin Bond, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, RK Laxman and JK Rowling. My favourite personality is Anne Frank and I have read her diary (unabridged version).

I never knew I had a talent when I was six years old. Actually, I came to know of it only when I was in Class Three. And now, I’m quite proud of it. It’s quite special to me – it’s a completely different line.

I sometimes draw my inspiration from real life incidents and experiences. When I was traveling by air to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, I looked out of the window and saw the clouds and that inspired me to write a story on Fairyland. When I read about Libya and the protests against Gathafi (Gaddafi), I wrote a school story involving my toy-dog, Timmy.

My first book called ‘Straight from a Child’s Heart’ was published by CinnamonTeal Publishers, Margao Goa in April 2011 on my tenth birthday. My parents are planning the second book for this year, again with CinnamonTeal.

Before I dash off my signature below this article, I’d like to say something to all the young writers like me: Remember, writing stories is not a crime. You can always make it your career with something side-by-side, like being an English Literature Professor. Writing stories is a completely different line – so consider it special and never lose an opportunity to write!

Shruti Swaminathan

Her parents say…

She writes on a variety of topics – school stories, her father’s childhood memories, mystery stories, apartment stories and anything that kindles her imagination.

She continues to read voraciously. Her favourite books and authors include The Malgudi Days, Ruskin Bond, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Diary of Anne Frank, David Copperfield and The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Sometimes, her writings display a combination of imagination and real-life incidents, experiences and news events, for example, the recent strife in Libya. This is, in great measure, due to her habit of poring over the newspaper before leaving for school and watching the news channel with us in the evening. Her interest in reading makes her literally pore over any printed matter. This has improved not only her vocabulary but also her levels of general awareness. Even her father’s office magazine is gone through thoroughly and scanned for interesting information.

We now find that her reading habits have helped her in her academic performance also. She doesn’t have to prepare for creative writing exercises in school (paragraphs, letters or articles) – her reading gives her sufficient material to write on any topic. Since her comfort levels with English are fairly high, it has helped her to move away from rote-learning, to understanding the subject and writing the answers in her own words.

Her writing skills have helped her to gain recognition in school and she is invited to contribute stories for the Annual Magazine and participate in story-writing contests.

The only area where we can take credit as parents is being always available as ready-for-reference dictionaries and encyclopedias for her. We have also actively encouraged her to read story books and not viewed it as a distraction. As a result, Shruti has had many teachers guiding her and helping hone her vocabulary and writing skills – at home, at school and authors such as Enid Blyton, Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan, to name a few.

A good command of the language has also had a positive impact on her levels of self-confidence and she is comfortable interacting with adults, both in the spoken and written form. Queenie Rodrigues, of CinnamonTeal, herself has been at the receiving end – Shruti sends e-mails to her very willingly even though she has never met her.

I, as a parent, have realised the immense potential of reading, having seen the tremendous progress that Shruti has made in six years. I believe that inculcating reading skills among children, an area neglected in most schools today, holds the key to an enriching education and would make our children a lot more successful than they are today.

Chidambaram Ramesh is the author of Shroud Of Turin – An Imprint Of The Soul, Apparition Or Quantum Bio-Hologram, recently published by CinnamonTeal.This is the first book on the Shroud of Turin by an Indian author, and proposes for the first time, the Quantum Bio-Holographic idea to explain the shroud image. It also gives re-birth to the forgotten science of palingenesis – the resurrection of spectral images of plants out of ashes. The author has attempted to explain almost all the peculiar characteristics of the Shroud image like photographic negativity, spatial encryption of 3-D data, non-directionality and other amazing aspects.

What inspired you to write ‘The Shroud of Turin’ particularly since there are so many books on the subject? What makes it different?
Indeed, there are numerous books on the Shroud of Turin. But most of them are documentary in nature, that is, they usually provide a comprehensive list of collected facts or information relating to the Shroud, its documented history, etc. This book is distinct in as much as it attempts to offer valid scientific explanation and a working hypothesis for the formation of mysterious image on the Shroud. There are only very few theories trying to provide explanation to the Shroud image; nonetheless they could not explain all the unique or extraordinary characteristics of the Shroud image. The quantum bio-holographic idea, the central theme of the present book, meets almost all the scientific criteria embarked by earlier scientific studies on the Shroud image. The photonegative characteristic, three-dimensional encryption of bodily depth-relief data, non-directionality, double-superficiality and other amazing aspects of the Shroud image are explained under the tutelage of quantum bio-holographic theory.

How did you get interested in the mystery of the Shroud of Turin?
In fact, I was initially working on a different, but closely related subject – morphogenetic fields. There are umpteen ideas and theories –both ancient and contemporary – to suggest that morphogenetic development of our body is more “structure-related” than “chemistry-related”. A precise blueprint of the body is always hypothesized to guide the process of bodily development. The raison d’être for my belief is an medieval practice – Palingenesis – which is the resuscitation of spectral plants out of their ashes and a natural magic where spectral 3-dimensional images of snakes/scorpions manifest out of decomposed parts of the corresponding organisms after their physical death.  During the course of my scientific pursuit of these ideas, I unexpectedly came across the Shroud mystery. I could observe and discover a close linkage and resemblance between the phenomenon of 3-dimensional image creation in the process of palingenesis and the 3-dimensionally encoded image on the Shroud. I believed the underlying science of these natural phenomena, if explored, can help  to unwrap the mystery enshrouding the image on the Turin Shroud. The result is the book before you!

How much time did you take to finish the book?
As I said earlier, I was initially researching on the ideas of morphogenetic fields. The entire idea is based on the process of palingenesis. So I decided to collect, compare, and analyze almost all the available literature on the subject.  This work spanned over about two years and my efforts, I hope, yielded results. I could collect very valuable observations made by many legendaries like Carl Linnaeus, Sir Thomas Brown, Athanasius Kircher,  Sir Kenelme Digby etc who were of high repute in Western science and whose views we may still regard with high respect. It is a collection of hard-to-find information. It took about three years to see the book in print.

Has the process been easy? Did it ever make you feel hopeless and bleak?
It was not easy but interesting and the most enjoyable pursuit for me. In a way, it is like digging for treasure – treasure of knowledge. My coming to know of the observations of persons like Carl Linnaeus that all organisms – plants as well as animals – are capable of manifesting their 3-dimensional geometric structure even after their physical death or decomposition was a wonderful personal feeling and experience. It was never boredom.

Can you tell us your one best moment while working on this book, something you’d treasure down memory lane?
Yes, it was the moment I had when I saw, for the first time, the Shroud image in 3-dimensional. It was sent to me by Dr.Petrus Soons, a renowned Shroud 3-D researcher and in fact its creator. I was always worrying I write about a thing I have not seen in person. But the 3-D image I received from Dr.Soons relieved me of.

Briefly describe to us how you went about conducting research for the book?
I have, of course, stood on the shoulders of many ancient and medieval authors. The works are theirs; I have only collected them and tried to bring them into the realm of current science. At the start, my mind was bogged with questions how the decomposed parts of organism can record precise 3-D geometrical structures of the organisms. David Bohm’s concepts of implicate order and holographic universe, Pribram’s idea of ‘holographic brain’, Rubert Sheldrake’s morphic fields etc helped me a lot to arrive at the quantum holographic idea to explain the miraculous 3-D profiles created by organisms after their physical death. Dr.Mitchell’s essays on Quantum Holography, Late Dr.Sue Benford’s article “Empirical Evidence Supporting Macro-Scale quantum holography in non-local effects” supported the idea of quantum holography in more concrete terms. Finnish scientist Dr.Matti Pitkanen was kind enough to explain me the scientific/theoretical basis of quantum bio-holography through personal emails. My academic background in engineering assisted me to grasp these concepts easily.   As regards the Shroud research, the findings of Dr.John Jackson, Particle Physicist Dame Piczek, Dr.Petrus Soons, etc made me to confirm that the Shroud image is an imprint of quantum bio-hologram.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Originally, my idea was to write a scientific paper on the subject. The multitude of information and ideas that I could collect over the period of time prompted me to make it into a book.

Any future projects in mind?
Now, I am a stern believer of the quantum holographic idea and indeed, I have enough scientific evidences to support my belief. The subject, if explored further, is certain to offer breathtaking discoveries, especially in the medical field. I have set my mind to work on these ideas further. My next book will be on Clairvoyance (Anjanam-Gazing) and Quantum Holographic Connections.

Can you tell us your experience of working with CinnamonTeal Publishing?
I must first thank CinnamonTeal Publishing for transforming my dream of publishing a book into a reality in a short span of time. I am very grateful to Ms.Queenie R.Fernandes, Co-founder/director for her patience to carry out all the corrections/improvements I used to suggest time to time. On all fronts, quality of print, cover design etc – I like and recommend CinnamonTeal Publishing.

Perhaps there is no greater pleasure on earth, than being immersed in a good book. For me, it has to especially be crime fiction. I guess I will be eternally indebted to innumerable authors who have lightened up my life every single day. How much ever crappy the day was at work, the thought of a crisp thriller lying by my bedside, always made me look forward to the end of the day. Be it the immensely sexy, deadly Charles Calthrop as Jackal in Forsyth’s Day of The Jackal; or the century’s most enigmatic villan Dr.Hannibal Lecter – they’ve been a part of my life, as much as my family, friends and colleagues. No, I don’t hear voices in my head…yet.

So, when I decided to take a break from the corporate scene, I was warned gently that I would be back at a cubicle in no time. It was tempting. 13 years of experience behind me. Good pay. Bad roles. Why not? But then, it got me thinking. Did I not see anything else in my life, apart from sitting in front of a laptop? Here I am, young (okay…younger than most Hollywood top paid heroines. Younger, but heavier…) mid-thirties…and I don’t know what to do with my life? That scared the crap out of me. I decided to sit it out. I actually mean sit-it-out. Sit on the sofa. Stare into space…well stare at a communal garden where a three-legged cat did the same thing. A result of that ‘sitting out’ was the decision to try out something new. Something I loved. Writing. The thought was stimulating. I did not want to just blog. Not even short stories. I wanted to do a full-fledged novel. Did I have it in me? Did I have the discipline? What if I don’t get any ideas at all? Again, I decided to sit it out.

Four weeks. I cooked, I cleaned, I sat and stared into space. What did I want to write about? Well, I KNEW what I DID NOT want to write about. Identity crisis due to immigration to another country, arranged marriage, a bored housewife rediscovering her sexuality, slums, corruption …basically all the literary fiction that is associated with India and Indian authors. I wanted to write a story that I would personally love to read. My favourite genre. Crime. Good. What kind of crime? Will it be a robbery? A murder? A serial killer on the prowl? I scribbled the thoughts in a notebook. I did not want to write an apology for a novel – a one dimensional array of words – A kills B. A tries to escape. But A gets caught. I wanted to write something that was complex, rich and had strong, interesting characters. Something that would make the readers smile. Something that would make them put off the chores to see what happened next. Something that would make them look over the shoulders every time the power went off and the room plunged into darkness. At the end of two months of ‘sitting it out’, I had a basic plot in my head. I had my ‘subject’ – a paranormal thriller! It was a challenging, mind-numbing exercise, replete with derisive self-doubt. Can two separate genres – crime and horror be intertwined successfully? It requires skilful weaving of subplots. It requires bringing out amazing chemistry between the characters. Above all, both these genres are almost absent in India (at least in the mainstream English fiction). Yet, can I steer away from the cinematic clichés of ‘horror’ in an Indian context? Vermilion smeared lemons, headless chicken lying around, the weird-looking, cave-dwelling exorcists (if it is a man) or…if it is a woman – someone who smears kajal with a vengeance. The challenge had me salivating. I plunged into it.

I had the characters worked out. I had the location worked out. And yes, I took a month to get the first para right. No jokes, folks. Writing that first line is a b****. I did not follow any ‘rules’ or use any ‘planning software’ to prepare my manuscript. I suppose that’s an efficient way – figuring out the chapters etc. But these frameworks hamper creativity, and I just wrote as the words fell out of my head. In many ways, I did not know what happened next in the story. While the outline was there, the details were missing. But as I wrote, the sequences revealed themselves – it was like driving in the dark. You don’t know the road; but you can see only a few feet ahead thanks to your headlights. I think that was very thrilling.

The principal characters of my story are as unremarkable as you and I. Regular blokes going about their routine. Yet, they are remarkable when pushed to a corner – again like you and I. The only liberty I’ve taken is probably to make most of them good looking! We all love good-looking, sexy, intelligent principle characters…right? My principal characters are urban, chic, globetrotters, well-off and intelligent. Someone of my world, with whom I can identify with…and so can you. I believe we are a summation of our experiences. We are what we are because of those memories, those lessons learnt. And that’s how I’ve attempted to reveal the characters to the readers throughout the book. Memories and experiences that made a character stronger, weaker or altered a personality.

The entire sequence of events takes place in my home-state in India – Karnataka. The mysterious, dark, brooding, yet enthralling lush forests of Kukke Subramanya, Sakleshpura, Bisle – the abode of the majestic King Cobra – I could not think of a better place for the story! Again, the challenge was – will it be a simple case of possession, a haunting? Or something more? I wanted to steer clear of the hackneyed ‘soul of suicide/murder victims coming back to nail the perpetrator’. I wanted this entity to be ancient. To have a specific purpose. To have a very, very strong character, with remarkable mental prowess. I wanted to develop this entity so that the reader loves her, sympathises with her, sheds a tear for her, above all, fears her. Thus, it felt only right that this entity belonged to the glorious Vijayanagara era – the most important time period in the history of Karnataka – marked by remarkable rulers and a golden period for music, literature and the arts. An era that sadly spiralled towards a most gruesome end in the hands of the Deccan Sultanate. And so, the story spans across two eras – 1550 – 1565 CE and present day (2005).

Given the fact that I am a debutant; and that I chose a genre which has not been a part of mainstream fiction in India, I did not even bother going to traditional publishers. After some research, I decided to go ahead and self-publish through Print on Demand. My publishers are CinnamonTeal, based out of Goa. They are book-loving blokes like me, and I’ve had a remarkable experience with them. They are not all ‘corporaty’ – just a homely bunch of geeks (I mean this in the most loveable way). They are flexible, approachable and always open to ideas. Above all, they are a very honest team. I got the same service as I would have if I’d been ‘selected’ by a traditional publisher. The only difference was that I was paying for the services.

As my book goes up on sale, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I am not nervous about the number of copies I sell. This was a hobby, an experiment – so it’s okay if just one copy is sold. I am more nervous about that single book-loving reader who finds the story disappointing. And so, my fingers are crossed, and I am waiting with bated breath for the first review to reach me!

So I hope this tickles you enough to buy the book! Since this is print-on-demand, the book is available only at this online bookstore –


by Claire Odogbo, Author of “Learning to Learn”

I recently had a conversation with a senior colleague at work. She told me that she didn’t consider herself to be intelligent. I was shocked because I KNEW she was intelligent – I mean, that is how she got to rise in such a highly competitive environment like the firm in which I work.

In any case, I realized that she, like most people, rate their level of intelligence based on comparison with other people’s levels of expressed intelligence in popular areas such as academics, how quick you think on your feet or in verbal jabs, or whether you are always the one who comes up with the ideas that in quote ‘save the day’. Some of us are very ordinary in all the areas I mentioned. We have never done better than average in school, people may have finished laughing before we get the joke, and we never have any grand ideas, so in conclusion, we are not very clever. We believe so and perhaps others think so about us. But I will tell you something that might just make you metamorphose from the proverbial caterpillar into the beautiful winged butterfly.

According to a researcher and writer, Howard Gardner, there are 9 types of intelligences namely:

1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)

People who are ‘nature smart’ have the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). Taken in today’s consumer society, this is usually mobilized in the discrimination among cars, brands of clothing, shoes, accessories and the like.

2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)

Musically smart people typically have the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables people to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“Number/Reasoning Smart”)

Number/reasoning smart people are usually the number crunchers. Those who tell you they love mathematics, theories and hypothesis. They typically perceive relationships and connections, use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns.

4. Existential Intelligence

People who are ‘existential smart’ have the sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

5. Interpersonal Intelligence (“People Smart”)

Interpersonal intelligent people typically interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives.

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)

Body smart people usually have the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

7. Linguistic Intelligence (“Word Smart”)

Word smart have the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence (“Self Smart”)

Self smart people typically understand themselves and their thoughts and feelings, and use such knowledge in planning and directing their life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. Self smart people may appear shy, but they are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.

9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)

Picture smarts usually think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Picture smart people usually see pictures in everything.

So which one(s) are you? You may not be word smart, logical smart, or people smart. But nobody sees how well you dance in your room, or how good you are on the tennis court, or how you can make creative music, or yet still, have an ear for the intricacies of good music which no one else hears. You are quite clever indeed; just find your niche and maximize your potentials.

About Claire Odogbo.
Claire is a freelance consultant in learning and creativity. She organizes seminars, workshops, classes and webinars on creativity and maximizing your potentials.
She is the author of the book ‘Learning to learn’. Available on her website www.lifetrackinternational.com, and on amazon.com.

VIKRAM KARVE born in Baramati Pune and educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi and The Lawrence School Lovedale Ooty, is an electronics and communications engineer by profession, a human resource and training manager by occupation, a teacher by vocation, a creative writer by inclination and a foodie by passion.

An avid blogger, he has written a large number of fiction short stories, professional, technical and management articles, self help and philosophical musings and creative non-fiction pieces in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.
Do have a look at Vikram Karve’s creative writing blog at: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com and his Professional Profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

1. How did the idea for the book come about?

I love good food. I love walking. So I love going on long walks exploring, searching for authentic food wherever I go. I got the idea for writing about food while “food-walking” on the streets of Mumbai a few years ago.

2. When do you think you really became passionate about food? Or better yet, when do you think you realized it?
I knew I was passionate about food when I realized that most of the time I was thinking about good food – this happened when I was in college.

3. Tell us why readers will enjoy ‘ Appetite for a Stroll‘?
Appetite for a Stroll is a unique book of foodie adventures breathtaking in its simplicity which surely has something for you – you’ll discover authentic eateries you’ve never been to before, it’s got recipes you’ve never read before, tips on the art of eating, a delicious journey which you can easily identify with, especially if you are a foodie or a wanderlust person.

4. What’s your favorite recipe from the book?

5. Do you cook yourself?
Yes, I love cooking as much as I love eating.

6. What was the first dish that you were really proud of?
The first dish I was proud of was CHICKEN DO PIAZA which I improvised during an impromptu dinner for friends who suddenly landed up with a broiler chicken and asked me to cook it for them.

7. What sets you apart from other food writers?
I am a genuine simple earthy trencherman, an ardent foodie, who honestly believes in the maxim “There is no love greater than the love of food”.

8. Could you share a favorite recipe?

Of course I’d love to share my favorite recipe… It’s called EGGS VODKA and a KISS…a story and a recipe…do read it in Appetite for a Stroll on page 117.

9. Do you have any future writing plans?
Yes. I plan to become a full time writer soon. I am planning a novel (on which I am already working) and book for children and dog lovers. Maybe I will write a book on “Teaching Stories” and Wisdom and Philosophy through Humor. I also want to publish an anthology featuring a collection of my short stories written by me over the past 20 years in various magazines and in my creative writing blog and another anthology of my philosophical musings and self help articles. I will continue to write short stories, philosophical musings, food and travel writing and self help articles and continue to blog actively.

10. How was it working with CinnamonTeal Publishing?
Appetite for a Stroll is a well designed and attractively packaged book which makes an easy read and has been liked by readers. The quality of publishing is really good. I wish the book had been advertised, publicized, and marketed well and displayed in prominent bookstores and bookstalls at airports and railway stations and was easily available to readers. Appetite for a Stroll is only available online. Most readers prefer to browse and buy books in bookstores or bookstalls rather than online.

(Readers may note that CinnamonTeal has since begun offering marketing packages, for more details contact shulen @ dogearsetc.com)